Equity and excellence

Equity of access to higher education is a fundamental part of the University of Newcastle's "DNA". This is reflected in our institutional values and demonstrated in our successful history of supporting students from a range of backgrounds to achieve a university education.

The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education, with The Wollotuka Institute, will further develop the reputation of the University as a global leader in the evidence-based development of pathways to enhance access to university and academic success for students from diverse backgrounds. By building on our success as a leader in enabling education and equitable access to higher education, the Centre will serve as a national and international hub for collaborative action-oriented research, strengthening practice in higher education and building partnerships for success.

An opportunity to succeed

The University of Newcastle has a proud reputation of supporting Female studentsmotivated and talented students, regardless of their background or circumstances, not just to gain entry, but to thrive in their field of study.

We are the largest provider of enabling programs in Australia and in 2012, approximately $1.3 million of equity scholarships were provided through the University's Equity Scholarship Scheme.

Today, 27 per cent of our students come from low socio-economic backgrounds, well above the sector average of 16 per cent.

Pathways to success at UoN

Since 1974, some 37,000 students have enrolled in an enabling program through UoN and many have gone on to make remarkable contributions to business and the community

Approximately 3,000 students enrol in our domestic enabling programs each year as a stepping stone to higher education. About 90 per cent of our successful enabling students go on to study in an undergraduate degree program at the University of Newcastle.

Learn more about our enabling programs below:

Open Foundation is a free tertiary preparation program that has been offered by the University of Newcastle since 1974. It is offered at the Callaghan campus in Newcastle, the Ourimbah campus on the Central Coast or by Distance (online) education. Open Foundation has two primary purposes:

  • it provides a qualification which you can use to gain entry to university, and
  • it helps you to develop the skills needed for successful study at a tertiary level.

Every year several hundred students complete the program and qualify for undergraduate admission.

Open Foundation is recognised as an entry qualification for many universities around Australia as well as for applicants to the NSW Police Force recruitment and training program.

Newstep is a proven pathway to university studies that has been offered by the University of Newcastle since 1990. It is a free one-year program, designed for 18-20 year olds who didn't complete the Higher School Certificate or who did not gain sufficient marks for entry into university.

The program is designed to give students the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge necessary for success in a University study environment.

Newstep is offered at both the Callaghan campus in Newcastle and the Ourimbah campus on the Central Coast. It is accepted as an entry qualification by many universities in Australia

The University has a strong partnership with TAFE NSW Institutes to offer students pathways to enter university from vocational education. The University provides clearly defined credit transfer options between institutions where students can use TAFE or other qualifications to enrol at the University and receive credit towards their degrees.

The University of Newcastle has been at the forefront of Indigenous education for 25 years, actively supporting the aspirations of Indigenous people through study and employment opportunities.

The University is home to some of the most prolific and insightful Indigenous students, academics and researchers in the country, who are canvassing a diverse and unique range of issues and themes.

In 2008, the Australian Universities Quality Agency commented that the University of Newcastle is the 'Australian leader in Indigenous education and collaboration'. Almost half of the Indigenous doctors in Australia graduated from UoN.

The Wollotuka Indigenous Support Unit, in conjunction with the Gibalee Aboriginal Learning Centre at the Central Coast campus, underpins the most comprehensive range of Indigenous studies programs available in Australia. Yapug is designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gain skills for entry into health and other professions.

The University of Newcastle Language Centre has been one of Australia's foremost centres for English language training for over 20 years. We offer a wide range of high-quality English courses, English study tours, customised English training for professional groups, and IELTS testing services. Our experienced staff, modern facilities in Newcastle and Sydney, and our diverse student body will help to create an enriching educational and cultural experience for you.